Need shrubs or plants which will use lots of water!

smilla_pa(z6 PA)March 29, 2005


I've got a house built on a steep slope, and on the uphill side, despite french drain, grading, etc., we still end up with a slightly soggy area in the 6-foot or so space between the house and a terraced planting bed where the uphill slope begins.

I've always had to solve planting problems in areas which didn't get enough water, and now it's the opposite problem - I'd like to plant something in here which will suck up as much of the water in this soggy spot as possible.

As I said, it's a soggy spot which receives filtered morning sun and full early afternoon sun. It also needs to be something which will grow happily in this northern edge of zone 6, and won't have such a root system that it will interfere with the french drain. Any suggestions?



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Kathy46(Z6 Pa)

Check out the thread for "bog gardens".

I believe Iris like wet feet and so do pussy willow but don't know if PW likes full sun.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 3:40PM
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harebelle(z6a NY)

Salix caprea (pussy willow) does very very well in full sun, with soggy feet. I've planted them in the pond meadow. It's wet most of the time to the south side where they are. S.c. 'Pendula' is a lovely weeping form. Other plants that like wet feet include darmera peltata. The iris win hands-down for showy beauty in a wet place, though. And do check bog gardening, as Kathy46 suggests, for many more ideas. Good luck!


    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 11:26PM
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Most willows like wet areas. Just don't plant them where the roots can get to your septic system. They sense the water and head right for it sometimes plugging it, sometimes crushing it.

Japanese iris, iris versicolor, Louisiana Iris all love boggy conditions. Don't confuse them with the bearded iris which like well drained soil on the dry side. Siberian Iris also like moist soil but a little less boggy than the others.

Here is a link that might be useful: Iris for wet places

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 12:45PM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

You can plant things that will do well in a wet spot, but don't expect plants to dry it out.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 7:49PM
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clethra (shrub with fragrant flowers), acorus graminium ogon (golden ornamental grass)...there are a couple more.

But what Judy said is true--they won't dry the place out like shopvacs :), they'll just thrive and fill up the area.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 4:19AM
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that's acorus gramineus. I'm tired. I'll offer a link as apology :)

Here is a link that might be useful: just one link on Japanese sweet flag

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 4:20AM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

Itea grows well in wet spots and if combined with clethra will make a nice gold and burgandy foliage combo.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 1:24PM
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Canna and Elephant Ears love their feet wet too.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 9:01PM
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Our basement gets water in it when it rains. Someone suggested we plant shrubs next to the house to absorb the extra water. Any good suggestions?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 8:20PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Hydrangeas, daylilies, common white callas, most ferns, many but not all iris, many carexes (looks like ornamental grass) all love soggy soil.

Many plants sold as pond plants are really bog plants and would be fine in a soggy situation rather than in a pond. Marsh marigold is one that blooms in very early spring and is a clumping perennial.

cannas and various plants called elephant ears do too but would not be winter hardy in PA.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 3:13PM
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I have planted two areas/beds at my daughters house in Alpharetta,GA(north Atlanta suburb)the past two Autumns & am going to replant soon.After tilling the GA clay I added 3-4" of topsoil & tilled again. I planted Berberis & soft touch holly in one bed & flame creeper Azaleas in the other. Ilost all the berberis,30% of the soft touch & 65% of the Azaleas. When I pull up dead plants the soil is very moist & some of the holes in the Azalea bed had standing water. Last year when I replanted the Azaleas I dug the holes 2' deep, hit white soft stone in the red clay, hammered a hole 1-2" wide another foot deep, put 6-8" of drainage rocks in the hole, added more topsoil, planted the Azaleas 2" above ground level & still had poor drainage. I want to plant something different this year that will tolerate the moisture. These plants shouldn't grow over 2-3' high. Both areas are in full sun. I have had the soil tested from both areas & nothing is really out of bounds.Can you recommend any shrubs that might work?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 7:24AM
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I have just planted a new shrub garden (house is just 1 year old) on a slope. At the bottom of the slope it is wet after a rain, but drains off within 24 hours. It is on the south side of the house getting east-west sun.

Here's what I planted in the wet area:

Itea virginica Little Henry 'Sprich' low-growing, gorgeous red fall foliage, green leaves in season with white racemes when it blooms. I'm totally enthusiastic about itea. It is accompanied by carex testacea and dolichostachya, acorus gramineus variegatus 'ogon' (shaded by shrubs), iris ensata, iris siberica, creeping jenny. Slightly up the slope, I added aster frikartti 'Moench'.

As it gets drier further up my slope, I then used drought-tolerant plants like hypericum x hidcote, hepatcodium, salvia 'black and blue', lavandula, cryptomeria japonica globosa nana, deutzia gracilis 'nikko', hypericum albury purple, stachys byzantina, nepeta. I prepared the entire garden using wonderfully organic and screened garden soil brought in by a double dump truck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Itea virginica -- info purposes only

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 1:02PM
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A few years ago we planted 6 Pampas Plants to help soak up the rain water at the bottom of the slope in our back yard but it didn`t work.I have room for at least 6-7 more bushes that would help with privacy and drainage.Please give me some ideas ?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 4:16PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

Try petasites japonicus, it's a great large leaved plant that would do great in a wet location like that.
It's also highly hardy in our area of zone 5, so it will live over winter there. It's tropical looking due to the large leaves and interesting to look at. Also it gets a cool looking flower very early in spring.
The non-variegated grows larger and more robustly than the variegated.

Here is a link that might be useful: petasites japonicus

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 10:03PM
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    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Some part sun plants will take more sun with more moisture, so you can try a few different things you like & see how it goes.

Another idea is to mound the soil up a bit more, so that the roots aren't just sitting in the puddles during rainy periods.

We did that last spring & created a path between the mounded beds with the drain under the path. July 2010 pics

We've since removed the cherry tree & the space gets a lot more sunshine.

Since the driveway drains into the path we've planted some dogwood cuttings to help absorb the water. The variegated Euonymous shrub on the left didn't survive the winter. I had another one near the end of the path on the right side in good drainage, but not as much sunshine. Both didn't survive, but when I dug them out, cut them back & planted on the outskirts of another garden just in case .... they resprouted in July, so you never know sometimes. They won't be put back into those spots, but I'll find a home for them if they make it through this winter.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:01PM
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So I finally started my garden a couple of weeks ago, and planted an already growing Japanese Banana tree and some other edible items in my yard. They were all progressing quite well until a storm hit today! I got home to find the rain flooded my yard so bad this time it actually flooded the baby Banana tree out of the soil! My whole yard has really bad flooding problems! What can I plant and what can I do to stop it from being so bad!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Speckled Alder, Hydrangea. The first has great flowers and the second is a nitrogen fixer.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:44PM
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